Totally Unscripted: A new Google Apps Script community hangout (Hangout On Air Tips)

Totally Unscripted - Event page

The day job at the Association for Learning Technology (ALT) and my Google Apps Script hobby made an unexpected collision recently  when I was asked by Bruce Mcpherson to contribute to a new monthly hangout for the Google Apps Script community.  At ALT we’ve started to explore using Google Hangouts On Air for more of our community events. Hangouts are a tool we regularly use as a team and it’s only recently that we’ve started using them more for events like our monthly ALT Community Call. There’s been bit of a curve in setting these up and there are endless Hangout On Air How-to you can read and this post is more of a personal reminder for myself:

Need a Google+ Page to allow multiple YouTube Channel Managers

Originally I’d hoped Bruce could add managers to his personal YouTube channel to make administration a bit easier. Unfortunately this ability is only available to YouTube Channels that linked to Google+ Pages (info on creating a new channel). So we now have a Totally Unscripted Google+ Page which means we also have another level of administration to deal with creating artwork, following/commenting and other delights. Part of the ‘other delights’ is that the Totally Unscripted Google+ Page is orphaned from the Google Apps Script Google+ Community so we are manually having to share events to the community (as it’s a new page we also have to factor in that Google puts it on ‘this might be spam’ list so we couldn’t originally directly share events to the community. All minor points but something to remember in the future.

Can’t find the Create Google Hangout On Air button

Google rolled out a new interface for Google+ back in November 2015 and over 6 months down the line it still seems to be missing some features … in particular how to create a Google Hangout On Air. The official Google help for creating a Hangout On Air suggests:

  1. On your computer, go to plus.google.com/hangouts/onair.

Unfortunately this only works for personal accounts rather than a Google+ Page. Currently the solution appears to be switching ‘Back to classic Google+’ which reveals the Hangouts menu on the Google+ Page (you can however bookmark the link this goes to – in our case managers of the Totally Unscripted Google+ Page can use https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/114680146947327878416/hangouts/onair)

Google Hangouts On Air Permalinks … well aren’t permanent

Once a Hangout On Air is started there is an ‘Invite People’ button which allows to to add more people to join inside the Hangout rather than watching on YouTube or the event page)

 

This reveals a dialog which includes the option to “Share the permanent link. Bookmark it and come back at any time.”:

image

The thing is the permanent link isn’t permanent it will change when the Google+ Page manager starts the hangout. For example, if the day before the event I want to share the permanent link with other presenters by starting the hangout and copying the permanent link without actually starting the broadcast, when I use the link the following day I can only join with my personal account not the Google+ Page meaning I can’t start the broadcast. The solution appears to be start the Hangout a bit earlier and keep it open warning co-presenters you’ll send the link just before the start.

Anyway if you’d like to see how we get on with this you can tune in this Friday 15th July at 2pm BST – for time in your region visit the event page – and here is the show trailer.